Windows Home Server and Digital Dysfunctions

Windows Home ServerDo you suffer from Digital Amnesia? As Digital Amnesia is quickly becoming the number one form of digital dysfunction, you probably do.
Just head over at the online Center for Digital Amnesia Awareness and
get a diagnostic. But even more, get a cure for your digital problem: Windows Home Server.

“Windows Homer Server works to store, share and protect your digital memories,” reveals the fake doctor over at the Center for Digital Amnesia Awareness Website. The StopDigitalAmnesia website is part of Microsoft’s marketing strategy for Windows Homer server.

“Store – Keep it together – expandable storage can help,” “Share – Sharing is healing, and access doesn’t hurt either” and “Protect – A backup a day keeps Digital Amnesia at bay” describe the core functionality of the Windows Homer Server.

“The quantity of digital information that consumers have today is increasing like never before. The prevalence of digital cameras, digital video recorders, MP3 players and other devices is creating massive quantities of information that is stored in these “islands” of data around the home. Usually, the person who takes the picture, downloads the music, et cetera, has that information stored on their PC, and if the hard drive fails or something bad happens, that information is effectively lost. Windows Home Server and the HP Media Smart Server will help families with two or more PCs in the home connect those islands, providing a central place where they can easily store, access and share that information,” explained Steven VanRoekel, director of Microsoft’s Windows Server Solutions Group.

Security on Windows Home Server

HP MediaSmart Server with Windows Home ServerWindows Homer Server is a concert of Windows fragments but essentially, the core technology is that of the Microsoft enterprise-grade Windows Server 2003,
and as such, the security features are also common. This aspect was revealed by
Todd Headrick, Microsoft’s product planner for Home Server to TechWeb. Microsoft has scheduled the release of Windows Home Server for the second half of 2007, on top of the HP MediaSmart Server hardware.

The Redmond Company has built Windows Home Server in the same manner as a Windows operating system, and in this context, WHS will feature automatic capabilities of retrieving and deploying updates. However, Microsoft has not attributed Windows Home Server the role of update manager for the machines connected in a home environment. The computers in a home network, as well as the devices connected, will be updated individually and independent of the Windows Home Server. “We’ll manage vulnerabilities and patches [for Home Server] just like we manage all other vulnerabilities and patches,” Headrick stated.

Microsoft informed that Windows Home Server will not be offered with pre-installed security software. In this regard, the Redmond Company has already approached security developers to provide solutions for Windows Home Server.

Security software integrated into Windows Home Server will be a must as the server will by no means be immune to attacks. Headrick confirmed that attacks will target Windows Home Server, although he gave the end user little credit: “Yes, it would be possible. People do a lot of stupid things, like opening attachments. We can’t keep them from doing that.” Windows Home Server will enter the second beta phase by the end of January 2007.

Windows Home Server integration with Windows Vista

Windows Home ServerWindows Home Server will not only integrate seamlessly with Windows Vista but will also facilitate advanced use of the operating system’s capabilities. Microsoft
has not as yet revealed the technical details of Windows Home Server, but
according to HP’s Preliminary Datasheet for the MediaSmart Server, powered by WHS, the product will support Windows Vista and Windows XP as far as backup is concerned.

Windows Home Server will enable users to remotely access their machines only if they are running Windows XP Professional, Media Center Edition 2005 or Windows Vista Ultimate across the computers on home network.

“Windows Home Server will also support the remote desktop features in select versions of Windows Vista and Windows XP, so customers can access their home PCs and applications as if they were actually sitting in front of them,” revealed Steven VanRoekel, director of Microsoft’s Windows Server Solutions Group. File sharing will be enabled via Windows Home Server for Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows XP Home or Windows XP Professional, Windows 2000 Professional SP4, Mac, Linux.

“Windows Home Server will help customers make the most of Windows Vista’s enhanced capabilities for accessing, creating, finding and enjoying digital entertainment. And because Windows Home Server is an always-on device, customers will also be able to store all the music from their Zune media player, stream that music and other digital media to devices in the house, such as the Xbox 360 sitting in the den, or third-party products that play streaming digital media stored on a customer’s home server,” added VanRoekel.

According to Microsoft, the security and the back-up features of Windows Vista will be enhanced via the Windows Home Server. Moreover, the product will report the health status of all the computers running Vista connected to the home network. Windows Home Server will alert the home administrator if the virus protection or the Windows Updates are disabled, or if a computer has not been backed up for a certain period of time. Additionally, Windows Home Server also features restore capabilities allowing home administrators to turn an operating system back in time.

“Customers will also be able to easily add an internal hard drive or connect an external USB or FireWire hard drive to Windows Home Server to increase the amount of storage for all of their photos, music and videos,” said VanRoekel.

Build your personal Windows Home Server

Windows Home ServerMicrosoft will deliver Windows Home Server, showcased at the 2007 International Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, either bundled with
hardware form factors or as a stand-alone product to OEMs. But additionally,
Joel Sider, Sr. Product Manager, Windows Server PR Microsoft Corp., revealed exclusively to Softpedia that users will also be able to get their hands on Windows Home Server. “We are considering the possibilities of making Home Server available to system builders or ‘do it yourself-ers’”, explained Sider.

Microsoft is currently collaborating with HP on the launch of Windows Home Server that will be integrated into the MediaSmart Server. Additionally, Joel Sider also pointed out that AMD, Inventec and Quanta will also deliver hardware platforms for WHM. But if ‘do it yourself-ers’ want something different they will be able to build their own hardware for Windows Home server.

“Microsoft anticipates that Home Server product pricing will be in the range of a low-end PC,” is the only pricing detail that Sider disclosed to Softpedia. So if you are indeed a ‘do it yourself-er’ than you need to start making plans starting with this piece of information.

“Windows Home Server is designed to work in broadband connected households that already have a broadband router / firewall device. A Windows Home Server device plugs in on the inside of the house and is initially protected by a users’ router / firewall device. Additionally, it is built on the proven technologies of Windows Server and uses the software firewall technologies built into Windows Server to provide an additional level of protection. It will be updated by Automatic Updates from MS. Also, remote access to Home Server is via HTTPS, only uses necessary ports, and is disabled by default,” added Sider, explaining the security built into Windows Home Server.

Windows Home Server preview

Windows Home ServerIt’s not too often you get a new version of Windows, so when Bill Gates announced Windows Home Server tonight we had to learn what’s what. Here’s the rundown of the facts on Windows Home Server, as told to us by Microsoft:

  • Units are headless and embedded only — you cannot buy WHS and put it on an old PC.
  • There is no common web interface. Interaction is entirely client software based, or done over SMB.
  • It cannot directly stream media to Media Center Extenders, but it can stream media directly to Windows Media Connect-enabled devices.
  • It does not use RAID, but instead uses a RAID-like drive pooling system with built-in redundancy. Expanding capacity is as simple as adding additional drives internally or externally via USB. We can’t say for sure, but we have a feeling if you were to unplug that external drive, your data wouldn’t go with it since it’s probably spanned across the array.
  • The client software, which is installable only on Windows PCs (duh) monitors PC health, manages backups, and supports full disk images and versions. If your computer crashes hard you can pop in an restore CD and it’ll pull the disk image over the network.
  • Your WHS device gets registered with your Windows Live account and is made easily-findable by authorized parties (i.e. you and anyone you designate) while on the go. You can even connect to it via Live and pipe a Remote Desktop connection to a PC on your home network through this Home-finding Live feature.